Table of contents:
- Beard as an indicator of good health
- No beard - you will be forever an infantile bachelor
- Beardless "strangers" and suspicions of sodomy
- Be like Jesus, or you will go to hell
Many men today wear beards, whether it goes or not. But this is rather a tribute to fashion. But in old Russia, a beardless male was perceived with caution and could even be suspected of bad inclinations. Why did this happen? Can a beard really influence a person's fate? Read in the material how they perceived a beard in Russia, why it was easier for bearded men to marry, and how it depended on the facial hair whether a person would go to hell.
Beard as an indicator of good health
Modern medicine has linked rapid beard growth to elevated testosterone levels. It is known to be the male sex hormone responsible for masculinity. If testosterone is high, a man is usually broad-shouldered, has a sexual appetite, developed muscles, and sometimes aggressiveness. The level of the hormone may affect how well a man is oriented in space, what is the speed of his reactions, as well as volitional qualities and decisiveness.
Naturally, in old Russia they did not know about this - medicine was not developed. However, the people were very observant. Therefore, a man whose facial hair did not appear was considered not too healthy, indecisive. They said that he would not make a good warrior or worker. Moreover, beardless people were often not considered as a groom, because who can guarantee that he will have strong and healthy children?
Do not think that overgrown men were valued in Russia. Measure was present in everything, including in relation to appearance. If a person looked like a wild beast, his beard covered almost his entire face, then men tried not to get involved with such a person. Women, on the other hand, were simply afraid of such men, considering them too irritable, aggressive and even prone to violence.
No beard - you will be forever an infantile bachelor
The beard belonged to those signs that meant the growing up of a young man. A smooth chin without a single hair was perceived negatively in young men. Neighbors and acquaintances considered such a person not an adult, but rather a child. And the child must be taken care of, because talking about his will is ridiculous. In other words, a beardless man was labeled "infantilism." How can he be responsible for his family? There were problems with marriage, since the opinion of the majority has always been of great importance. No beard - no wife, which means there is no family, no heirs. And unmarried in Russia were not taken seriously at all. Their lot was eternal adolescence. They did not have the right to vote in decision-making at peasant gatherings and in the family. An unenviable fate, but it's just a beard. It is unfair, but this was the situation with the smooth-faced.
The men tried to rectify the situation. We used various methods to make the beard finally appear. Today, any trichologist will say that for this it is necessary to increase blood flow and activate hair follicles. Previously, there were no such doctors, and beardless people used folk recipes: they rubbed honey, burdock oil, and thistle juice into their skin.
Beardless "strangers" and suspicions of sodomy
It is interesting that the absence of a beard made it possible for the Russian people to perceive a person as a "stranger", that is, as a representative of a different nationality and a different faith. If you turn to the works of the scientist Mikhail Topchiev, you can find an indication that religion in Russia was of great importance. This was the main sign, a kind of mark that allows you to understand whether it is your own or a stranger.
Almost always, a man without a beard or clean-shaven was perceived negatively, he could be considered an enemy spy or just an enemy. This is logical, since Russia has experienced a lot of invasions from the Asian nomads. And Asian men usually have a thin, wedge-shaped beard, not too thick, and sometimes it did not exist at all.
When Tsar Ivan the Terrible was in power, there was a ban on communication with foreigners. It was very simple to determine that the foreigner was in front of you: their faces were clean-shaven. Foreigners living in Moscow from France, Italy, Germany were considered heretics. After all, they all professed Catholicism or Protestantism. Moreover, a shaved man could be suspected of sodomy. Russians believed that in the West, representatives of the strong half of humanity humiliate themselves by shaving, as they shave in order to become like women. This was a reason to suspect the beardless of being gay. The hundred-headed cathedral introduced a rule forbidding Russian men to shave off facial hair. Violation was considered apostasy. In the event of his death, the person who violated the rule could not be buried or commemorated. And they buried him not in the cemetery, but behind the fence, thereby equating him with a heretic or suicide.
Be like Jesus, or you will go to hell
And one more reason why Russian Orthodox men had to wear a beard: they had to outwardly resemble Jesus Christ. On the icons, he always has a beard, because Russian men were obliged to conform, that is, also to grow a beard. In the writings of Patriarch Adrian, dated from the 17th century, it was indicated that God created all men with beards, and only dogs and cats can be beardless. Those who preferred to follow Western fashions and shave their beards were condemned and could even be excommunicated. It was said that those who, during their earthly life, walked with clean-shaven faces, after death may not count on getting into the Kingdom of Heaven, they will have a "pleasant" place - hell. Naturally, under such conditions it was easier for men to let go of their beard and live like everyone else.
As everyone knows today, a regular visit to the bathhouse can strengthen health and improve well-being. Together with the bath in Russia this is how the greensmen treated, why the disease was considered a sin and other little-known facts about the medicine at that time.
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